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FIRST ON 3: Teacher admitted texting, blew 0.13 after school-night crash

READ MORE: FIRST ON 3: Teacher admitted texting, blew 0.13 after school-night crash

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Texting and driving is never a good thing, especially if you've been drinking. A New Hanover County teacher admitted she was doing at least of those things when she hit a van last week. Highway Patrol says she was doing the other.

The Highway Patrol says Theresa Suzanne Jones-Carpenter was just one of 81 weekend DWI arrests in the Cape Fear region. What makes her case unique is that the 36-year-old is a teacher at Castle Hayne Elementary School.

It was early Friday morning when a trooper says Jones-Carpenter rear-ended a van pulling into a parking lot off Dawson Street in Wilmington. On his report, Highway Patrol Sgt. C.M Hardee wrote, "The first thing she said was I was texting and didn't see him... I feel stupid." Hardee continued, "I could smell alcohol."

According to the report, in her first breath test Jones-Carpenter blew a point 0.13, followed by a point 0.12, which is well over the legal limit of 0.08. She is charged with DWI, texting while driving and failure to reduce speed.

We went to Jones-Carpenter's Wilmington home to try and get a comment, but she was not there.

In Castle Hayne, parents whose children go to the school where Jones-Carpenter works, did not want to go on camera, but said the teacher is entitled to her private life despite her public position.

Paperwork shows that Jones-Carpenter was slurring her speech after the crash, had red glossy eyes and a strong odor of alcohol on her breath. The trooper says she also had a bloody lip from the accident.

Jones-carpenter, who is listed as Suzanne Carpenter on the school's website, was booked into the New Hanover County Jail just after 4 a.m. Friday, which is about four hours before the school day started at Castle Hayne.

A school district spokeswoman says that no personnel action has been taken yet and that administrators are looking into what happened. There's no word yet on whether Jones-Carpenter missed work Friday or the two school day since. Today is the first day of winter break for the district.

Jones-Carpenter is due in court February 14.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.



I totally agree. It only takes one accident to cause injury. If you are drinking and driving you should be put to shame! no matter what your profession. She is a TEACHER and supposed to set an example. What are her 1ST GRADE STUDENTS gonna think when they find out.. Some role model!!!

What will her students think

They will think she made a mistake as you and everyone else on this website have. Hopefully she will learn from it but I personally know that she happens to be an excellent teacher. I dont condone drinking and driving but I'd be willing to bet that 95% of people on this website have done so at some point and just didn't get caught. What other transgressions do you feel people should be put to shame for and how many of them are you guilty of?

New Hanover Schools Handbook


"The educator strives to maintain the respect and confidence of colleagues, students, parents and legal guardians, and the community, and to serve as an appropriate role model. The educator exemplifies a commitment to the teaching and learning processes with accountability to the students, maintains professional growth, exercises professional judgment, and personifies integrity."

Give it a rest

She made a mistake - thankfully nobody was hurt. Everyone makes a mistake in their life. Hopefully she will learn and grow from it. I do not think this should be BIG news. She will have enough problems dealing with this in her personal life, why post her picture and embarass her, where are all the others? Bad form WWAY.. This had nothing to do with her job and although i don't know her is probably still a very good teacher. Who is to determine appropriate actions - would not a divorce send the wrong message to students ? What about cheating in a relationship ? How about speeding that is bad too right ? Give her a break ! There has to be better news to report on.

MISTAKE???? u call getting

MISTAKE???? u call getting behind the wheel of a car drunk, texting a mistake?? is the easiest crime not commit!!! tripping over a limb or turning the vehicle to short and hitting the curb or adding or subtracting something wrong is a mistake, not this. you go and tell that to the courts and the family of dead or maimed victims!!!


First...what is drinking? drinking in moderation? Different answers if your a Catholic or Baptist...the last things only apply in class in front of their students and peers...




Yours is one of the stupidest comments Ive seen so far.


reading comprehension skills are severely the comment above mine, then read my response in CONTEXT...and if you read on down you will see I am not defending her DWI...

Get Back to Work

Judge not lest ye be judged! This woman made a mistake, you haven't. Give her a break and get back to work. All of you complaining and griping makes me sick. You wonder why our country has gone to the dogs, just listen to yourselves. The only reason I'm even responding is because most of you are lazy and have nothing better to do!!!!

Don't trust

Don't trust a woman with a hyphenated name, it means she can't commit to something, marriage, drinking and driving rules, texting rules...etc



She caused a car accident while texting, under the influence of alcohol, over the legal limit.

Probably not appropriate...



Suitable, fitting, proper, right, correct.

I don't think either of her actions fit these definitions.


is an adult...IRREGARDLESS of her profession, it IS APPROPRIATE for her to get knock down, drug out, slapped down DRUNK AT ANY TIME she sees fit...NOW..the DWI part..she should be buried for...the other things she is being attacked for...are irrelevant...UNLESS this is a continuing which case it needs to be dealt this point...WE DON'T EVEN KNOW IF SHE WAS TO REPORT FOR WORK the next day or not.


Irregardless isn't a word. Second, yes she has the right to do whatever she wants because she is an adult however those decisions have consequences. She is a teacher, an educator and now a failure.

Just because it happened once doesn't mean there IS NOT a problem. The problem here is she severely broke the law and deserves whatever the public chooses to dish out. It also does not matter if she was due to report the next day or not. She made a poor decision now she needs to suffer the pain of public dischord.


First, educate yourself

Second, not a single person is or has condoned her DWI. What is being argued, however, is holding her up to a standard she nor anyone else can live up to. She DESERVES to be punished for what she did...but not attacked because she is a teacher.


Its not a real word. You can even look up the origin of the false word or a respectable website. Maybe you can go ask a REAL TEACHER to explain it to you dumb@ss. Futhermore, she deserves to be held to a higher standard because she is a teacher and an adult.

Who are the others?

Ok, WWAY felt it was important to do a fairly detailed story on a teacher that made a mistake....with picture! Of the remaining 80 other offenders, how many were lawyers, doctors, firemen, bankers, politicians,news reporter,business leader, day-time bus drivers,preachers, truck drivers,nurses etc. Why not list ALL of the names and places of employment (with mug shots) of the remaining 80 offenders. Seems like some reporting sensationalism going on. Yes she should be held completely accountable, under the law, for her actions. They were WRONG! However, I am betting that now that WWAY has made such a story out of it, she will be fired in the next few days, even if her actions had nothing to do with her teaching abilities. The county school system doesn't like this kind of PR.

Seems like Cliff Pyron (reporter for this story) needs to think before he types. It is ashame that his mistakes will probably not lead to his firing.

THERE goes 'that word'

THERE goes 'that word' MISTAKE again ! ~*~

Did ANY OF YOU NOT READ THE PART that read... she got pulled over on FRIDAY MORNING ~*~ shes a FLIPPING SCHOOL TEACHER !! she BLEW A 0.13 !!! in 4 HOURS SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN IN CLASS !!! Im just wondering how many times she went to work drunk any other day of the week. Im also wondering how many of our teachers in our school systems are doing the same thing? Do we need to install a breath~a~lizer ( sp )in the office or do random drug test on the teachers of all our schools.

Since when is a teacher "holier" than, say...

a doctor who has patients in his waiting room five hours earlier? A dentist or surgeon scheduled for a procedure? A nurse pulling another double shift? If you're going to call out a teacher for making this kind of mistake, why not medical professionals? And why stop there - truck and taxi cab drivers, pre-school instructors, food service professionals, nuclear plant employees. Let's be honest; the ONLY reason TV3 highlighted this teacher's stupid mistake was because they were tipped off by someone...there was no "investigative reporting" involved... just a pissed off parent, co-worker of ex-boyfriend who held a grudge against this woman. And the media played right into their hands. Of the 80+ people busted during the latest DUI roundups, at least 30% were white-collar professionals - maybe more. If TV3 is going to use someone's profession as the litmus test for their decision to highlight an arrest, their current method of prioritizing their coverage is greatly flawed.

100% agree!!!

Where are the other 79 photos..dont tell me they were all unemployed and dont work in a public setting? You guys better hope you dont find yourself up on the wrong side of the law one day because you would then have to post your pic on your own website..


Mistake? She broke the LAW. There's a price to be paid for that. Next time maybe she will think about that before she gets in a car drunk.

Any arrest is public record. You can look up anyone on various websites. The fact that she was a teacher, and influences young minds, is a large reason her story is on this site.

If she gets fired, it's her own fault for the stupid choice she made to drink and drive drunk...not the fault of the media, who are just reporting it.

Sorry, I have zero tolerance for anyone who gets behind the wheel drunk. She could have just as well run over my son or my daughter.

Uh, ya missed the point...

She made a mistake and she broke the law. She should, and will, pay for her crimes. I have no problems with her facing the maximum possible penalties for drinking & driving, as well as texting while driving. The issue we were trying to highlight is WWAY's (lack of) journalistic rationale for singling out this one, lone person in their news coverage. I took a quick look at the StarNewsOnline mugshot database for the last two weeks, and as a lifelong Wilmington resident, I was surprised to see the following; a volunteer firefighter, a local lawyer, a Brunswick County government employee, a local paralegal, three people in the local food industry, a pre-school teacher, a home schooling mother and no less than six college-aged students. Again - why was she singled out? Probably because a co-worker, ex-friend or someone with a grudge called the television station - again, they HAD to be tipped off. Students in our local school system deal with peers selling drugs, "sext-ing', binge drinking. That's where examples are seen and set. Teachers, by in large, show up ready to work and educate - you're ignorant if you think highlighting this arrest on a television website will ever be seen by one of her students.

So what? Leave the girl

So what? Leave the girl alone, she's got enough trouble with this already. Poor news judgment from WWAY.

So what? Are you DRUNK?

This woman was DRUNK. .12-.13 is legally drunk, no matter if shes a teacher, preacher, stripper, mayor, senator, janitor, flight attendant etc.

LEGALLY DRUNK on the roads that could have potentially killed someone. THATS WHAT.

Hillbilly reporting to say

Hillbilly reporting to say the VERY least! I am truly amazed at the extremely amateur television stations in the Wilmington area. What the media in this town considers to be newsworthy is at times utterly amusing, but mostly sad. I'm no rocket scientist but "GEEZ", I know there are other happenings in the area that are in fact NEWS. What a joke.


OH it's 'HILLYBILLY' reporting until one of your family gets killed by a drunk driver ! You better watch what you type. Karma can 'bite' when its bad......

It is unfortuante that WWAY

It is unfortuante that WWAY has nothing else better to write about. How many people are arrested for DWI, texting or accidents that don't make the news. Why single this woman out only because she is a teacher, does anyone know that she wasnt on vacation & didnt have to work the next day. This has nothing to do with her teaching abilities! We dont need to pass judgement unless we know all the facts.

WWAY picks and chooses stories..

what happened to the principal story at Laney? You guys never follow up on that one..oh let me guess, she was a friend perhaps to the news director? I remember Scott posting himself about why they did the lack of coverage for that teacher because the case was still under investigation but I guess this story is so much different because it didnt involve children while the laney teacher did??..pick and choose..pick and choose..

Laney Asst Principal issue

since your so curious. My wife's bosses children go to Laney HS and to clear the air the whole issue was overblown.. The children in question were in fact living at her house and she was their legal guardian (I believe they were her step children in fact but at nearly 4am and what I was told being months old I could be off slightly in the exact resolution) but long story short the story was overblown and unfounded


Thanks Scott! LOL